Friday, 25 January 2008

The Benefits Of Journalling

The journal is an important part of every freelance writer's toolkit. Whether you are an experienced writer with several years in the field under your belt or a novice that has yet to begin typing that all important first article, a journal can really get your juice flowing and ideas moving through the creative filter inside your mind.

Many people make the excuse that they do not have time to keep a journal, and many don't... but if you are a writer then you should make time because it could be a great foundation for your career. Many writers benefit from their journals for a variety of reasons, and it is this range of reasons that provide the benefits and advantages of the journal:

Refine Your Style - A journal gives you the perfect opportunity to hone your style. Many writers do not have one definitive style of writing when they begin to build a career, and this is why some buyers and employers will reject your work. They want one specific style the majority of the time so that you display consistancy. In other words, they know in advance what they are paying for! There is nothing wrong with being versatile and mastering several styles, but you must be comfortable with one in particular if you are to make it! A journal is the perfect forum to do that because you can experiment before finding your own style.

Evolve Your Ideas - If you have ideas, you can initially use a journal to jot them down and work on them as and when you like. If nothing comes of them to start with then they are there to tap into at a later date.

Critique Your Own Work - You can use a journal to spot holes in your own work. It is best to do this on a regular basis so you can spot any changes and weaknesses. Once a month is roughly about the regularity at which you should take a look at your work and make a few notes and goals. It is important for a writer to be able to critique his or her own work in order to evolve and get better so it is a technique that you must work on right from the start. A journal is the best possible way to do this because it keeps everything in the one place.

Of course, there are more benefits and advantages, but from a beginner's point of view, the three above are the most important. When you have been keeping a journal for some time, maybe around six months or so, you can begin to keep another important book, which is an extension of the journal. This is the ideas book. Check back shortly for more information and a quick guide to get you started!

Monday, 14 January 2008

5 Essential Skills For Budding Freelance Writers

5 Types of Article You Can Write

by David Goldsmith

If you always write the same type of article then you are probably limiting your chances of getting published. Look at your favorite publications and you will see they print a variety of types of article. Here are five of the most popular types.

The ‘How To’ Article

This is a very popular type of article, in which you tell the reader how to do something. It could be how to build a garage, how to write a book, how to sell a house, or how to clean tar off a pair of trousers. These articles tend to be particularly popular because people love to find out how to do something.

When writing how to do something, and if the sequence is important, then it is a good idea to number each step. Remember to keep your instructions simple, yet specific. And you could even use a picture or illustration if the publication allows it.

The ‘List’ Article

The list article is an article that lists several related pieces of information, and is one of the easiest types of article to write. It could be “10 Ways to Save Money”, “5 Flowers to Plant In April”, or “The Best 12 Places to Live in Canada”. A list article should have:

• An introduction.
• The list; each item may be a paragraph or two.
• A conclusion.

The ‘Roundup’ Article

In the roundup article, you provide a roundup of information, statements, or opinions from a variety of sources. You might interview a number of experts, for example, and ask them the same list of questions. In your article you then write a roundup of the answers, e.g.

“Bill Jones, CEO of SHJ Limited, is confident that the market will turn around soon. “Within the next six weeks at most”, he predicted. But Tom Sloane, at Pickwick Associates, disagrees. He explains why…”

The 'Inspirational' Article

Inspiration articles include inspirational narrative, essays, articles on faith and religion, and self-help articles.

Do you know of an issue or concern that affects many people? Think of your own every day experiences. Write about the issue… and help the readers to deal with life and to improve themselves in some way.

The ‘As Told To’ Article

Because many of the people who have outstanding experiences are not writers, there is a market for writing those people’s stories. This is quite similar to ghostwriting, except that in this case the audience knows that you are the writer. In the credits, you would show “By Peter Wallace [subject], as told to Jim Davies…” [writer].

Instead of writing a third-person narrative of the event, the ‘As Told To’ article makes the tale more real and personal by using the first-person.

So next time you are about to write an article, pause… and ask which type of article would best suit your situation and topic. By varying the types of articles you write your writing will also develop a new depth and your articles will be picked up by a much wider variety of publications.

About the Author

David Goldsmith is a freelance consultant and writer. For more information on writing, he recommends Worldwide Freelance Writer. For more information on freelance writing and a database of more than 1,700 writing markets, visit

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Websites To Kick Start Your Writing Career Part 1

When you embark on a career in writing, you'll probably have an idea of where you want to go in mind. Whether you want to work for a magazine, newspaper, within a specific industry or see your name on the front of a paperback, you can't just expect to get to your destination as soon as you start to write seriously. As the old saying goes, everyone has to start somewhere! The advent of the Internet can help you!

Not only has the Internet opened up more jobs than ever before for freelance writers but it has given them a base to launch their career off, and working on various Internet sites can give you a great foundation. Every now and again, I will be posting some of the sites out there that can get you start with a quick review and a link so you can go right to the site and get started! They all offer an assortment of projects that can give you experience in various areas of writing and can help you to earn cash along the way!

1 - Rent A Coder - Rent A Coder is undoubtedly one of the best websites out there for starting off your writing career. There are hundreds of projects posted every single day concerning a huge variety of skills, from proofing and editing to articles to white papers to sales letters to press releases! It's all there. There are also a large number of buyers on there that will go out of their way to hire new people to the site to give them a leg up as well as those looking to form long term relationships with writers as well. Better still, the nature of the site means that all funds for jobs are escrowed before you start work on them so you are guaranteed to get paid if you complete the work. There's absolutely no chance of getting stiffed! Signing up is completely free as well, as is bidding for as many jobs as you like! What more could you ask for?

2 - Get A Freelancer - Get A Freelancer is also a great site for beginners because there are plenty of buyers on there that will accept bids for jobs from people that have never written professionally before. It is free to sign up but you do stand a better chance of getting a project on there if you sign up for gold membership, which currently stands at $12 a month. Of course, it is easy to make this money back! It is easier to withdraw money from GAF than most sites because you can have your own debit card. You can have the funds that you have earned transfered into that account and withdraw it at ATMs, which beats waiting for it to be transferred! Finally GAF is one of the easiest sites to work out! Just log on, post a message to buyers offering the jobs you want and away you go!

So there you have it - the first two sites you can look at for getting a foot on the writing ladder! More coming very soon so watch this space!

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

The Rocky Road To Freelance Writing

No matter what age you are, you are never too young or too old to start writing with a view to doing it for a living. Everybody can write but very few can do it well enough to make a living from it. If you are one of that number that has a gift for writing then you should nurture your talent and actively look to make the most of it. Today is as good a day to start as any - new year, new opportunities!

There is much more to being a freelance writer than meets the eye. However, there has never been a better time for trying to forge a career out of it. The Internet has opened up a wealth of opportunities for the individual find work, but there are three rules that you have to adhere to in order to get started on the right foot. They are as follows:

Rule One - Know Your Ability!

Freelance writers are often amongst the most self-doubting people on the Earth. Very often, they do not recognise exactly what they can do. This includes both strengths and weaknesses. However, having the ability to accurately assess your skills will help you to figure out exactly what projects you could do and which ones you should avoid. For example, some great writers can just reel off an article in ten minutes flat, whereas others need to plan it all out and take 30 minutes to an hour. The subject matter may be the same, as may the quality, but the latter kind of writer should probably avoid tight deadlines. Of course, there are many situations that this applies to but the rule is the same for all of them.

Rule Two - Gain Exposure

If you started writing yesterday then you are not going to make money from it tomorrow, unless you are very very lucky! 99.9% of writers will need a day job when they get going if they want to pay the bills, but they will obviously need to gain exposure by working on the side. You can use a website that offers a bidding system for individuals looking for writing work. Rentacoder and Guru are great sites for that. Alternatively, you could set up a blog or complete article projects for free. All of those options will get your name out there and help you to build a reputation.

Rule Three - Constantly Look To Improve

There are so many freelance writing skills today that a good writer has to have a working knowledge of several if he or she wants to compete with their fellow writers for a client list! Many clients will require a writer that can complete press releases as well as generic articles, for example. You should do all you can to build your repertoire of skills so that you appeal to more clients whenever you get the chance!

There you hae it - the three golden rules! Stick to these when you are first starting out and you will not go far wrong!